Welcome to our practice

Where we do
“one size fits one” dentistry

Where we do
“one size fits one” dentistry

Patients Reporting TMJ Pain Increase During Pandemic

TMJ Treatment

Welcome to our new web site! Our new name, “Point Loma Comprehensive Dental,” reflects the philosophy we’ve had since the beginning almost 30 years ago:  a comprehensive approach to your oral health.

It isn’t simply about cavities and gum problems: we look at the entire system and evaluate everything. It starts with a conversation about how you got here and where you want to go. Knowing the history of your health gives us clues to the future. Together, we find a path to get you to the level of health you desire.

We start with a thorough examination of your muscles and temporomandibular joints (TMJ), and an evaluation of your airway and sleep patterns. This “system” has an immense impact on the health of your teeth and the success of any treatment. If you grind your teeth or have sleep apnea, which are both very common and under-diagnosed, these need to be treated, as they are both very detrimental to your overall health.

Through the more than six months of the pandemic, our practice has seen a tremendous increase in the number of people reporting TMJ pain and unusual tooth pain. My colleagues are all reporting a similar pattern in their practices.  The stress of this unprecedented disease is taking its toll on our bodies. Many of the “tooth aches” end up being a result of increased clenching and grinding (bruxism): the teeth are just being overworked and get sore. Frequently, the position of the teeth is not ideal and one or more of them take more of the load and become painful.

The good news is that with a proper diagnosis, we have been successfully treating these patients with mouth guard appliances (orthotics) and some lifestyle changes, like limiting caffeine and hard or chewy foods. Many then go on to have their bite adjusted so the teeth touch in a more even manner, spreading the load so that no one tooths becomes sensitive.

While treating TMJ and bite problems is a passion of mine, we are still a practice that focuses on family dental care. My interest in treating sleep apnea and TMJ problems has led me to focus on making sure that children are growing correctly. Many of our TMJ and sleep apnea patients have narrow palates, resulting in small airways and teeth that do not fit together well. In a growing child, we can see if this pattern is happening and then guide early orthodontic treatment to expand the palate, which expands the airway. This helps the teeth fit together better, and helps prevent future sleep apnea. We want to prevent children from having the problems that we see every day in our adult patients.

If you have any questions about these issues or any dental problems, please call the office.